Commission votes on court-related recommendations to lawmakers

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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A handful of Hoosier counties got a nod from a legislative study commission for new courts and judicial resources this week, and those recommendations will now go to lawmakers for consideration in the next General Assembly session.

The Commission on Courts met Monday to discuss and vote on several measures that include new courts or judicial officers, but Marion County and the Indiana Court of Appeals are not on the list of recommendations.

The commission did not bring up or vote on a previous request from the Indiana Court of Appeals for a three new appellate judges for a sixth district, and they also noted a request was withdrawn from Marion County to convert 20 commissioners to magistrates.

However, commission members voted to add a second Circuit judge in Franklin County and abolish that court's magistrate position; convert two Madison County Court judges into the fourth and fifth Superior judges; add a second judge to Miami Superior Court; create two new general magistrate positions for St. Joseph Probate Court to replace the juvenile magistrates there; to create a new magistrate position for the Dearborn-Ohio Circuit Court; and to abolish the Jefferson-Switzerland Circuit Court with Jefferson County retaining the current joint Circuit judge.

Each one of those received a unanimous vote, along with the two other topics that warranted a vote from the commission.

One of the recommendations would allow for magistrates statewide to enter final orders or judgments in proceedings that involve small claims, protective orders, or cases that prevent domestic or family violence. Currently, only Allen and St. Joseph county magistrates have these powers, and judges there told the commission that the courts' growing caseloads in these areas means that they couldn't operate without the magistrates performing those functions.

The chairman read a statement from St Joseph Superior Judge John Marnocha that said the process has worked well and that, "It is particularly important to litigants that they have a final decision at the time it is made, rather than waiting for a judge to approve the recommendation of the magistrate. It has also alleviated judges from the time it takes to review the orders (which) in a high volume court is crucial."

Commission members voted unanimously to recommend the magistrate powers expansion to lawmakers.

The commission decided not to address or vote on changes regarding judicial mandates, instead opting to leave that responsibility to the Indiana Supreme Court to address as situations arise.

None of these votes put the changes in effect; all of the commission's recommendations will go to the General Assembly for consideration in their next legislative session.

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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.